Calvinist Admits Misusing Sovereignty

Reprinted in Saving Sovereignty:

by Paul D. Miller of The Gospel Coalition

What does it mean to say that God is sovereign? The refrain has become so common, almost clichéd, in Reformed writing and preaching that it sometimes slips away from the reader or listener without lodging meaning in the mind. Worse, we typically hear the phrase to mean something it doesn’t. When Christians affirm that “God is sovereign,” they often mean “God is in control.” Paul Tripp, for example, wrote in his excellent book Lost in the Middle that “God truly is sovereign . . . there is no situation, relationship, or circumstance that is not controlled by our heavenly Father.”

The problem is that the English word sovereignty does not mean control. The U. S. government is sovereign within American territory, but that doesn’t mean the government controls everything within American borders or causes all that happens. If you look up sovereignty in the dictionary you’ll not find control in the definition—nor even as a synonym in a thesaurus.

One comment

  1. Wonderful post!
    Actually – the way Calvinists use the word connotes something Jesus would rebuke.
    It actually looks at God and sees or treats him as if he were a demonic spirit.

    The connotation Calvinists infer on God in this sense can be found in the Greek word within Acts 19:16. κατακυριεύσας which means to subordinate someone – or to overpower someone.

    Calvinists see God as a person whose primary interest is to overpower his creatures.
    Calvinists see God simply as the premier principality and power – over all other principalities and powers.

    Since in Calvinism there is no delineating line between good and evil – divine power can be exercises according to “his good pleasure”. So if he wants to throw babies into the fire of Moloch for his good pleasure – than who are you oh man to judge god.

    This view of god equates him to a being who simply out Lucifer’s Lucifer.

    The sin of King Saul and of Balaam was to treat God as if he were a demon spirit.
    The Calvinists view of divine sovereignty does just that.

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